Hospitality has been one of the industries that has been hit the most by the impact of the pandemic. It is essential for the hotels to take certain measures and create a strategy to recover from the global lockdown. We have done research based on different aspects and prepared a report which we briefly summed up into tips and suggestions that can help hotels recover faster by adding these tips into their marketing strategies.
When asked what it would take to get them to travel again, most US leisure travelers want additional health and safety measures, according to the McKinsey Consumer Leisure Travel Survey, which surveyed 3,498 travelers from five countries in April 2020.
Although the recovery will differ country by country, we do see common themes. People still want to travel. Many are calling this “revenge travel”: bookings for cruises in the United States—arguably one of tourism’s hardest-hit sectors—remain strong for 2021. The international survey results resemble what we see in China. Domestic travel will return first. International travel, especially if it involves flying, will take much more time to recover. The travel sectors of countries that lack large domestic markets will recover more slowly and may open up first to travelers from nearby countries. We think that travel will return in other countries much as it has in China. The young will go first. Travel will involve nearby destinations. Economy travel will recover more quickly. And outdoor and nature-related destinations will be more popular than congested cities.
We have also conducted behavioral psychology research in order to understand the decision-making process during this crisis. When we conduct this sort of research we try to observe human behavior in terms of the operations of the mind to explain why people are being irrational, to figure out how a cognitive system that’s otherwise adapted to making good decisions still makes irrational decisions in certain cases. As a result of these and many other factors we have created some tips for the Hospitality Marketing.
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Methods and Strategies
Based on previous crisis similar to Covid, such as recessions and even the pandemics there are many things we can learn from.
A: BEHAVIOR CHANGES: There will be behavioral changes which need attention: Consumer confidence will be lower, long-term stays will drop significantly and the majority of bookings will be in a shorter window.
B: SALES AND MARKETING: Statistics from previous recessions show that the hotels who cut marketing budgets had a higher loss, while the hotels who increased their marketing expenses had a faster recovery and RevPAR was much higher during this process. The pie is smaller and you need to fight for your share!
C: COMMUNICATION AND OFFERS: The most important part of the strategy is communicating and to keep it separate from your marketing. Depending on your hotel’s location, demographics etc. determine how to inform your audience, including your staff and guests in order to create more trust and create the base for an efficient rebound. While making special offers though, focus on add-ons rather than lowering the price, and since the booking window will be shorter and mainly short period stays, creating more special deals based this and offering deals for longer stays will be more beneficial.
Direct Bookings: During these rough times it is important to take the necessary steps in order to increase direct bookings. Particularly the social media engagement and steps you take to improve your SEO will make a difference.
Some steps you should take:
1. Make sure to have your website content up-to-date.
2. Update your Third-party listings.
3. Engage with your followers on social media, on posts related and not related to covid.
4. Posts in social media should include links that direct to your website.
5. Show more behind the scenes things, what staff is doing, how is housekeeping working during covid, make people feel sympathy towards your hotel.
6. Promote your property features, help people imagine and shape the ideal vacation in their mind.
7. Use e-mail marketing while reopening, with special offers for leisure travelers and focus on images rather than text.
8. Follow up with influencers you worked with before and travel agents, the more posts related to you out there, the more new leads you may get.
According to the many researches including our own research conducted on May 2020, there are certain groups who will be traveling first and that may differ from region to region yet it is important to identify them for your hotel and focus on targeting them first.
A: Growing your audience organically through social media will help you target easier in the long run and you will be able to better understand and identify your demographics. Once you know your demographics, it will be easier to target the specific groups.
Currently it is expected that people who travel locally visiting family or friends, experienced travelers, younger couples and millennials, are the best target groups.
B: Paid ads and PPC campaigns after the reopen will be a good idea but only once your hotel has prepared everything for the reopen, and you have figured out the strategy on how to make people feel safe to travel. A strategy based on your ideal target audience should be created based on three factors: your location, income of those audiences, other activities and add-ons you can offer to attract these groups.
– If for instance your location is ideal for remote working people and entrepreneurs, then that will be another target group that you can adjust your room, amenities and marketing for. Many big and small corporations are switching to work from home so in the long run this will bring you a lot of guests.